Covid-19 Pandemic Closures: Considerations For Commercial Tenants And Landlords

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Building | Property Management, Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Commercial Leasing, Commercial Litigation, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Force Majeure, Franchise | Licensing, Government Action, Injunction & Specific Performance, Insurance, Property Management, Real Estate Litigation, REIT Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Disputes, Shopping Mall Lease Litigation0 Comments

What can commercial tenants and landlords do to protect themselves from the impact of Covid-19 related closures on commercial lease obligations? Here are some tips for businesses who are in the difficult situation of having to deal with potential defaults on commercial rent obligations related to closures or reductions due to the Covid-19 situation. 1. Review The Lease Agreement Carefully For Potentially Relevant Clauses In Ontario, the commercial landlord-tenant relationship is governed by the Commercial Tenancies Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. L.7., (the “Act”) which outlines the relationship, rights and obligations between commercial landlords and tenants. However these relationships are heavily governed by the commercial lease agreement in place between the landlord and the tenant, which can take precedence over the Act based on the agreement of the parties. Review the Act and more importantly, review your commercial lease agreement carefully to appreciate whether the agreement contemplates the type of situation … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: How to Schedule an Urgent Civil or Commercial List Hearing

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Business Disputes, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Law, Commercial Leasing, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On March 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a Notice to the Profession advising that all scheduled civil hearings were adjourned until further notice.  The Notice to the Profession provides a procedure to schedule urgent and time-sensitive motions and applications where immediate and significant financial repercussions may result without a hearing.  When motion or application materials are filed, by email to the appropriate courthouse, seeking an urgent hearing, the triage judge will determine whether or not the matter is urgent and should be scheduled for a hearing. There have been a few recent endorsements reported in respect to the scheduling of urgent commercial lease matters. In Oppong v. Desoro Holdings Inc., 2020 ONSC 1697, the applicant sought relief from forfeiture to set aside the landlord’s termination of the lease.  Although the application was brought promptly and scheduled to be heard on February 7, 2020, the … Read More

Nick Poon Comments on Frustration and Force Majeure Clauses for The Huffington Post

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Event Cancellation, Event Termination, Force Majeure, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, Travel & Tour Operators, Travel & Tourism0 Comments

Nick Poon was recently asked to comment on the doctrine of frustration and force majeure clauses in the context of travel refunds during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Huffington Post article is found here: You Can Still Get a Refund for a Flight Cancellation During Coronavirus Pandemic. If you require legal advice and representation in respect to contract termination and cancellation, frustration of contract and force majeure clauses and/or travel and tourism, please contact us for an initial consultation.

Contract Arbitrator – Event Cancellation Dispute Arbitrator, Force Majeure Clause Dispute – Reasonable Fees and Good Availability – Gilbertson Davis LLP Arbitration and Mediation Chambers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAgency Arbitrator, Arbitration, Arbitrators, Brokerage Arbitrator, Business Arbitrator, Business Dispute Arbitrator, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Arbitrator, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Lease Arbitrator, Condo Arbitrator, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Employment Dispute Arbitrator, Energy Arbitrator, Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, Franchise Arbitrator, Infrastructure Arbitrator, International Commercial Arbitrator, International Joint Venture Arbitrator, Internet Arbitrator, Investment Arbitrator, IT Arbitrator, Joint Venture Arbitrator, Licensing Arbitrator, Marine Arbitrator, Maritime Arbitrator, Partnership Arbitrator, Partnership Dispute Arbitrator, Real Estate Arbitrator, Reinsurance Arbitrator, Sale of Goods Arbitrator, Shareholder Arbitrator, Shareholder Dispute Arbitrator, Technology Arbitrator, Transportation Arbitrator0 Comments

Contract Dispute Arbitrator  An arbitrator, or an arbitration tribunal, obtains jurisdiction to adjudicate and decide a dispute from an agreement / contract which has been made by the parties to the arbitration. This jurisdiction is not typically provided by legislation, though there are exceptions, such as the arbitration provision deemed by statute to be included in a condominium declaration. Even if there is no arbitration clause in the contract or agreement made by the parties and a dispute arises, then parties to that contract may still agree to have their dispute determined by arbitration. The parties to a contract may prefer to have a dispute determined by arbitration, since it is presumptively a confidential process, it may be faster and less expensive than going to court, or they may wish to participate in the selection of the adjudicator. Common Contractual Issues Arbitrated – Cancellation and Force Majeure Clause  One of … Read More

Legal Consequences of COVID-19 / Coronavirus on Commercial Contracts

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorArbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Cross-Border Litigation, Distributors | Dealers, Fashion Industry, International Joint Venture Arbitrator, International Sale of Goods, International Traders, Manufacturers | Re-Sellers, Marine | Maritime | Aviation, Sale of Goods, Textiles and Apparel0 Comments

Impact of COVID-19 / Coronovirus Events on International and Domestic Commercial Contracts  The reports from China show that COVID-19 / Coronavirus not only has a tragic impact on the lives of very many, but has already caused the consequential events of closure of manufacturing, halting exports and affecting transportation operations. This can be caused by forced movement of labour, government-ordered closure and / or state sanction and embargo, or the business decision to cease production. Interruption of Supply, Outsourcing and Transportation of Goods   This often has serious consequences for Canadian companies dependent upon foreign supply, outsourcing of manufacturing and the international carriage of goods. The central question is often whether or not the performance of a supply, outsourcing or transportation contract is legally suspended or excused because of the events surrounding the spread of COVID-19 / Coronavirus. Frustration | Impossibility  International trade and transportation contracts may not expressly refer to … Read More

Limitations in real estate agent’s opportunity is repudiation of contract

Fatima VieiraCommercial Contracts, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination0 Comments

Fatima Vieira B.A., M.A., LL.B. In Barresi and 6491243 Canada Inc. v. Jones Lang Lasalle Real Estate Services, 2019 ONCA 884  the Ontario Court of Appeal considered the test for repudiating a contract. Jones Lang Lasalle (“Lasalle”) was a real estate investment management company. Ryan Barresi (“Barresi”) was a real estate broker. Barresi and Lasalle entered into an agreement whereby Barresi was to be the Ottawa Practice Lead for investment property transactions. One year after entering into the contract, Lasalle advised Barresi that he could only pursue transactions in Ottawa up to a $10 million ceiling, even though the agreement imposed no such ceiling and transactions over $10 million would be exclusively available to another party, National Retail Investment Group (“NRIG”), which would involve Barresi only as Lasalle saw fit. The trial judge found that these two limitations undermined Barresi’s reason for entering into the contract with Lasalle, which was … Read More

Part Two – Timing is Everything in Real Estate Agreements of Purchase and Sale

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Litigation, Specific Performance, Summary Judgment0 Comments

I had written a previous blog on the “time is of the essence” clause in real estate agreements where it was discussed that the strict adherence to any agreed upon time limits was generally the case. A recent Ontario Court of Appeal case, Fortress Carlyle Peter St. Inc. v. Ricki’s Construction and Painting Inc., serves as a reminder that the “time is of the essence” clause is not absolute and unfettered, and there are preconditions that must be satisfied for a party to rely upon and insist on time being of the essence. The facts are not overly complicated in this case.  The respondent was a condominium developer in the process of acquiring properties for a proposed project in downtown Toronto.  The developer entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale (“APS”) with the vendor to acquire the subject property.  Although the APS required the vendor to provide estoppel certificates five days prior … Read More

Deposits In Failed Real Property Transactions

Sabrina Saltmarsh, B.A. (Hons), J.D.Broker and Agent Claims, Commercial, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cottage Purchase and Sale, Professional Liability, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation, Recreational Property Litigation0 Comments

The recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Azzarello v. Shawqi, 2019 ONCA 820, illustrates the purpose of providing a deposit when purchasing real property and under what circumstances a purchaser will lose their deposit or be refunded the deposit if the sale does not go through. There are some important general principles that purchasers and sellers should be aware of regarding deposits in a real estate transaction: 1) Contemplation Regarding The Deposit In the Contract Is Important Purchasers and sellers should carefully consider the terms to be included in the purchase and sale agreement regarding the deposit. The contract should be clear about what happens to the deposit in all possible scenarios. In cases where it is not, the courts will look to implied terms in the contract and existing case law which governs how deposits are dealt with. 2) The Reason The Sale Fell Apart Is Important The … Read More

Manufacturers and Distributors – Toronto Litigation Lawyers

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorBrand Protection, Business Litigation, Business Torts | Economic Torts, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Counterfeit Goods, Cross-Border Litigation, Dealership Agreements, Distribution Agreements, Distributors | Dealers, Domain Name Disputes, eCommerce | Online Retail, Passing Off, Retail Disputes, Retail Litigation, Technology and Internet, Textiles and Apparel, Trademark Infringement0 Comments

Our lawyers can provide sound advice and effective representation to manufacturers and distributors involved in actual or potential disputes or litigation.  We focus on a wide variety of manufacturing industries in a broad array of legal disputes, including sale of goods, branding and brand protection, transportation and logistics, supply and outsourcing contracts, unpaid accounts, internal business disputes, construction and urgent remedies. The automotive industry, the food and beverage industry and technology industries in the Toronto – Waterloo Innovation Corridor comprise the most substantial sectors of the Ontario manufacturing landscape. We also can provide advice and representation to the many other manufacturing industries in Toronto and elsewhere in Ontario, including these: Automated Machinery and Robotics, Automotive Industry, Auto Parts Manufacturing, Building Materials, Canning and Bottling, Chemical Manufacturing and Supply, Clean Tech, Computer Equipment and Electronic Equipment, Concrete, Brick, Glass, Drywall, Lumber and Stone, Confectionery, Food and Beverage, Financial Technology, Furniture Manufactures and Importers, , Bottling, Packaging and Containers, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning – HVAC, Insulation and Environmental Solutions, … Read More

Court Stays Injunction Claim in Favour of Arbitration / Refuses to Consolidate Arbitration Proceedings Without Consent of All Parties

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Arbitration, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Arbitration, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Termination, Injunction & Specific Performance, Insurance0 Comments

In Loan Away Inc. v. Western Life Assurance Company, 2018 ONSC 7229, the plaintiff had an agreement with the defendant by which the plaintiff sold the defendant’s insurance policies in return for payments by the defendant.  The defendant ceased making payments and the plaintiff commenced an action against the defendant for an injunction to require the defendant to make the payments to the plaintiff and to prevent the defendant from terminating the insurance policies that the plaintiff had sold on the defendant’s behalf. The defendant relied upon an arbitration clause in its agreement with the plaintiff to stay the action.  The plaintiff argued, among other things, that the claim should not be stayed because the arbitration clause contained arbitration clause contained an exception for requests for a temporary restraining order or other forms of injunctive relief. The plaintiff argued that its request for a permanent injunction fell under the category … Read More

Real Estate Litigation: Failure to Give Extension of Closing Date is not Bad Faith

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Certificate of Pending Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Real Estate | Developers, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation, Specific Performance, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The recent summary judgment motion decision in Time Development Group Inc. v. Bitton, 2018 ONSC 4384, involves a situation that arises quite often in failed closings of real estate transactions.  One of the main causes for an aborted real estate transaction is the failure of the purchaser to obtain the required financing to close on the transaction, possibly influenced by the Ontario Fair Housing Plan and the new mortgage lending rules. In this case,  the plaintiff entered into an agreement to purchase three adjoining properties for a residential home redevelopment project.  There were a series of amendments to the agreement with the terms as follows: (a) purchase price of $10.55 million; (b) deposit of $500,000; (c) two vendor take back mortgages; and (d) closing date of July 31, 2017.  The plaintiff had secured a commitment letter to finance the transaction, however, six days before the closing date, the plaintiff was dismayed to find out that their financing had been withdrawn because the market conditions had changed.  … Read More

A Successful Constructive Dismissal Claim in Hagholm v. Coerio Inc.

Janice Perri, B.A. (Summa Cum Laude)Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Employment, Employment & Wrongful Dismissal, Summary Judgment, Wrongful Dismissal0 Comments

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee is indirectly and effectively dismissed from the position or terms he/she had previously agreed formed the employment. Without the consent of the employee, a substantial alteration is presented that fundamentally changes the terms of the agreed upon contract. Hagholm v. Coerio Inc. represents a successful claim for constructive dismissal. The respondent had entered into her employment on the understanding that she could work from home three days a week. When this condition was changed, the respondent claimed constructive dismissal and ceased coming to work. The Motion Judge, on a motion for summary judgment, found that there was constructive dismissal because this was an essential term and the appellant arbitrarily withheld a bonus from the respondent. The Court of Appeal also confirmed that the respondent was not required to mitigate her damages for the appellant’s breach of contract in these circumstances. Also in this case, the … Read More

When is Oral Evidence Required to Resolve Credibility Issues in Summary Judgment Motions?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The Ontario Court of Appeal decision in 2212886 Ontario Inc. v. Obsidian Group Inc., 2018 ONCA 670, involved the appeal of a partial summary judgment decision in a dispute between the franchisor and a franchisee of Crabby Joe’s Tap and Grill.  In this case, the franchisee operated a Crabby Joe’s franchise for a year and a half prior to serving a notice of rescission of the franchise agreement on the franchisor. Claims The franchisee claimed that the disclosure document provided was materially deficient and it was entitled to rescind the franchise agreement within two years of execution of the franchise agreement under section 6(2) of the Arthur Wishart Act (Franchise Disclosure), 2000 (“the Act”).   The franchisee claimed for rescission damages under section 6(6) of the Act and also damages for breach of contract and breach of the fair dealing obligations under the Act.  In response, the franchisor brought a counterclaim for a declaration that the franchise agreement was validly terminated and a … Read More

What Does the Illegal Substances Clause Mean in OREA Agreements of Purchase and Sale?

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Agents and Brokers, Appeals, Broker and Agent Claims, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Misrepresentation, Negligence, Real Estate Agent and Broker, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

The Court of Appeal decision in Beatty v. Wei, 2018 ONCA 479, involved the failed closing of a residential property in Toronto and the proper interpretation of an illegal substances clause that is commonly found in OREA Agreements of Purchase and Sale. Illegal Substances Clause in OREA Agreement of Purchase and Sale In this case, about a month after entering into the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, the purchaser’s real estate agent discovered the property had been previously used as a marijuana grow-op in 2004.  The purchaser sought to terminate the agreement and demanded the return of the $30,000 deposit.  The sellers refused to terminate the agreement and commenced an application for a declaration that the purchaser breached the agreement by failing to close and an order that the sellers were entitled to the deposit and related damages.  In response, the purchaser commenced a competing application for similar relief. The dispute was in respect to … Read More

Court Considers Deemed Place of Contracting in Jurisdiction Analysis

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Business Law, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Cross-Border Litigation, Forum Challenges, Franchise | Licensing, Franchise Law, Injunction & Specific Performance, Jurisdictional Challenges0 Comments

In We Serve Health Care LP v. Onasanya, 2018 ONSC 1758, the Applicant was a franchisor of home health care service providers.. The Applicant had its head office in Ontario and regional offices in various jurisdictions, including one in Saskatchewan.  The individual Respondent entered into a Franchise Agreement with the Applicant’s predecessor company granting her a license to operate a franchise in Saskatchewan.. She later assigned her rights under the Franchise Agreement to the corporation Respondent. The Applicant refused to renew the Franchise Agreement, resulting in a dispute.  The Applicant commenced an Application in Ontario for a declaration that the Franchise Agreement had expired and for a mandatory order that the Respondents comply with their post-expiry obligations under the Franchise Agreement. The Respondents brought a motion to stay the Application on the basis that the Ontario Court did not have jurisdiction.   The Applicant argued that the dispute was presumptively … Read More

Court of Appeal Considers Effect of Nude Photos on Contractual “Morals Clause”

Andrew Ottaway, B.A. (Hons.), LL.B.Appeals, Appellate Advocacy, Brand Protection, Business Litigation, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Entertainment and Media, Internet | Technology, Media Litigation0 Comments

In Zigomanis v. 2156775 Ontario Inc. (D’Angelo Brands), 2018 ONCA 116 (CanLII), the Defendant entered into a promotional contract with the Plaintiff, who was at the time a professional hockey player.  The contract contained a “morals clause”, stating that the Defendant could terminate the contract if the Plaintiff “commits any act which shocks, insults, or offends the community, or which has the effect of ridiculing public morals and decency.” The Defendant terminated the contract for an alleged breach of the morals clause: specifically, unknown persons published nude photographs of the Plaintiff on the internet.  The photos had originally been sent by the Plaintiff to his girlfriend, before he entered into the contract.  The Defendant argued that sending the nude photos violated the morals clause. The Plaintiff sued the Defendant for wrongful termination of the contract.  The trial judge found, among other things, that the private transmission of nude photographs within … Read More

Court of Appeal Confirms Importance of Requisitions in Real Estate Transactions

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Appeals, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial Contracts, Commercial Litigation, Contract Disputes, Contract Termination, Real Estate Litigation, Summary Judgment0 Comments

The Court of Appeal of Ontario decision in 1418885 Ontario Ltd. v. 2193139 Ontario Limited, 2018 ONCA 54, recently overturned a summary judgment motion decision which confirmed the importance of requisition letters in real estate transactions. In this case, the parties had entered into an Agreement of Purchase and Sale for a property with a restaurant, golf course, 12 residential apartments, a two-storey home and a banquet hall.  The Agreement of Purchase and Sale included the following requisition clause:    8.  TITLE SEARCH:  Buyer shall be allowed until 6:00 p.m. on the 30th day of May, 2016 (Requisition Date) to examine the title to the property at his own expense and until the earlier of: (i) thirty days from the later of the Requisition Date or the date on which the conditions in this Agreement are fulfilled or otherwise waived or, (ii) five days prior to completion, to satisfy himself that there are … Read More